My life changed for better or for worse on November 17, 1998. Most people remember specific dates like weddings, anniversaries or birthdays. My special day will always be the day of my surgery. The reason I say for better or for worse is because for each person this type of surgery brings different results, both good and bad. I can tell you I am now, as I'm writing this, 215 pounds lighter than I was before that day. I am healthier, stronger, and more confident in my abilities to do anything I want. The confidence does not come from simply being thinner as I'm sure you might think. It comes from recovering from the most difficult thing I've ever done.
Gastric by-pass, stomach stapling in layman's terms, is not to be considered lightly. I can honestly tell you I've experienced more physical pain than I ever wish to again. I've been more nauseous and sicker than ever before. And I've had to deal with emotional issues I never expected. But I can also tell you that some wonderful things have happened since the surgery. I can walk, run, bike, dance, and just go through a day without the physical and emotional struggle of dragging 215 extra pounds with me. My critical medical conditions such as high blood pressure, chronic back and knee pain, sleep apnea, and pseudo-tumor cerebral, have all been erased. And people actually smile at me instead of looking away, trying to pretend I'm not there. It's amazing to me that now that there is "visually" less of me, there is now "conceptually" more of me. I am more here than ever before, both for others and for myself. I'm not sure I can explain that in more detail and have it become any clearer. It may be one of those things that need to be experienced to be fully understood.
The most important point I'd like to stress is that it is not the operation that brings about these changes. It is my commitment to the procedure, the process and the continuing improvement of my health that brought about these changes. My life is now not focused on dieting, loosing weight, becoming thin. It is now my goal every day to be healthy; physically, emotionally, spiritually healthy. To have wellness as my lifestyle. The pounds coming off is simply a side effect of that effort. Gastric by-pass is not a magic wand, a miracle pill, an answer in itself by any means. But if you are willing to make the changes necessary to have it help you become more healthy, it can be the beginning of something wonderful! I'd like to take this extra chance to thank all the nurses, doctors, surgeons and nutritionists at Hershey Medical Center for helping me towards this goal.